Provide evidence of godfatherism, says party national chairman
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
A former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has accused his successor, Adams Oshiomhole, of engaging in anti-party activities by creating distractions for Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and heightening the tension in the state with his activities against the governor.
But Oshiomhole has tasked those accusing him of plotting to be a godfather in Edo State to provide the proof.
Reacting to the decision of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) on the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly, Oyegun said in a statement by his Special Assistant on Political Affairs, Ray Murphy, that Obaseki should be allowed to concentrate on presiding over the affairs of the state.
The former APC national chairman said he was yet to come to terms with the fact that Governor Obaseki is not receiving the highest distractions from the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but from his predecessor who is also the chairman of his party.
“This party must be stronger because we cannot go into the 2023 general election with these discordant tunes, especially as President Buhari will not be contesting. We need to get our acts together. Oyegun has no personal grievances with Oshiomhole but Nigerians must know that he cannot go to equity with unclean hands.
“Today, there are all kinds of rancour coming from Edo State. They all boil down to attempt by godfather and godfatherism that is hitting up the polity in the state. Obaseki is the executive governor of Edo State and he should be allowed to exercise the powers vested on him by the law. To what purpose is this idea of the APC chairman putting the state under tension?
“As a governor under APC platform, he should be allowed to run out his tenure before they decide whether to bring him back or not. There are so much antics going on and you don’t need to be a prophet or babalawo to trace where they are coming from. They are coming from the APC.
“I want to think that they are all targeted at weakening the governor of Edo State. Ordinarily, the man in Edo should be given every support so that he can succeed to fend off the opposition PDP already around the corner.
“Ask anybody from Edo State; what is Obaseki’s biggest distraction and they will tell you that his distraction is not whether he has governed well or not, but from his immediate predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole.
“It is very unfortunate, especially considering the fact that he is the national chairman of the same party with the governor. I have not heard that PDP or Edo leaders want to remove Obaseki. What has been trending is how his predecessor who happens to be the party chairman does not want him back in the office.
“If his actions against Obaseki are not anti-party, someone should then explain to me what is anti-party. The problem of the APC is from a singular man; the national chairman who runs the party like an executive chairman. The idea of working singlehanded and inducing the party members to endorse is the problem of the party.
“Look at what is happening in the party today. When was the last time the NEC meeting was held, but when these crises came to the fore, he has called several emergency NWC meetings,” he said.
However, Oshiomhole has tasked those accusing him of plotting to be a godfather in Edo State to provide the proof.
He spoke with State House correspondents on the allegation that he was masterminding the crisis in the Edo State House of Assembly because he wanted to become a godfather and to dictate what happens in the state.
Stressing that he is a democrat, he recalled that he fought against godfatherism to emerge governor in Edo State.
He also said that he would not need short-cut to sustain his position in the system.
He said “What is the evidence? It’s all about accusation. The media has a duty. They have to give you the particulars of that godfatherism. What’s the evidence? I am a democrat.
“That I accept the credit, not only that I fought godfatherism, I launched the one-man one-vote campaign to fight against election rigging anywhere in Nigeria and by the special grace of God under PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) with Chief Tony Anenih alive, and at his best, I won all the 18 local government areas and I won 95 per cent of the total votes cast in my second term election.
“So, Edo people know me and I know them. I don’t need short-cut to sustain my position in the system. But you know that there is nobody in Nigeria who is not open to accusations. The important thing is that he who accuses should give you proof.” he added
Speaking on the ongoing crisis over the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly, he said,” It’s about rule of law. As journalists there are questions you don’t need to ask me because you know the answer.
“You know the law provides for how the House should be proclaimed transparently. The day it’s announced, members-elect are informed of date and time for inauguration.
“These are clearly spelt out in the Nigerian Constitution. And just last week (about two weeks ago), you were all witnesses to how President Muhammadu Buhari issued proclamation letter to the Clerk many days before, stating date and time of the inauguration of the two chambers of the National Assembly. “Even while we are still negotiating to ensure that our party was not divided on the floor of the House, without prejudice to the outcome of those negotiations, the President issued proclamation because he is obliged by the constitution to do so whether he likes it or not and he did.
“He did it transparently. He has led us by example. For me, it’s very embarrassing if any state governor, particularly of APC extraction, will do anything that is less than what the constitution says and the example that our President has set.” he said
According to him, the proclamation was not publicised in the case of the Edo State House of Assembly inauguration.
Stressing that the members were not informed, he said that the inauguration took place at 9.30 p.m.
According to him, the time was what a Supreme Court judgment described as “nocturnal hours.”
“Business of parliament are done transparently; they are not secret cult. Now you have 24-member House; 19 members protested. You have six and you carry people in their short knickers. Even in the House they have rules, the dress code. So, it happened in Edo, it has happened in Bauchi.
“Like Edo, Bauchi used the minority of 10 to go and proclaim the House and lock out 20 APC members and got those 10 people to elect, exactly the way Edo did with six and then co-opted other three people to become nine and even at that it is nonsense.
“For us, these are completely illegal. And that is why we said so. If it is wrong, it is wrong whether it is done by APC or by PDP; whether is the chairman’s state or not. The law is blind to those sentiments. I believe by the end of the day, the solution is returned to the rule of law.
“Let’s properly follow the law; let the parliament do what they have to do but people have the right to lobby for people they want and whom they prefer. This is also legitimate. Like you saw in the National Assembly, after all the lobbies people have the right to vote and you saw them in the National Assembly conducting secret ballot.
“We have an APC Senator, who in spite of all the efforts invested by all our leaders including Mr. President, insisted that he will contest. The law allowed him so, we couldn’t stop him. The President could have said okay SSS (State Security Services) please find excuse to invite him for questioning the day before; put him away until the elections are over.
“But we won’t do that. That is not the change we promised. The change we promised is to try to improve in the ways public institutions are managed and how rules are implemented. I believe that it will be resolved,” he said.